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Alumni Spotlight

Josh Bloodworth '15

14 Coming StreetJosh Bloodworth serves as the Associate Director of Accreditation and Assessment within the Office for Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Planning at the College of Charleston. He is from Cope, South Carolina and received a Bachelor of Arts from Coastal Carolina University. Prior to joining the College, Josh worked at Horry Georgetown Technical College, largely in a student service support function. Josh always had a passion for government and wanted to learn more about the valuable services that public institutions provide. He began the MPA Program in 2014, while concurrently attending The Citadel for a certificate in Student Affairs. Since joining the office as a student in the fall of 2014, Josh quickly made a great impression and received a promotion as an Assessment and Accreditation Analyst immediately after graduating from the MPA Program. In November 2016, Josh was honored with yet another promotion and a full-time position as the Associate Director. He works with College administration, faculty, and staff to ensure that the College remains accredited with its regional accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). In line with this directive, he assists administrative units at the College of Charleston to advance their assessment methods in order to improve their overall functioning and impact on student learning and operations. He also collaborates with OIEP staff in the administration of institutional surveys. The MPA Program helped Josh and his career in a multitude of capacities. He initially received his student position though the past MPA Program Director, Dr. Jo Ann Ewalt, who fostered a positive relationship with the Office for Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Planning. Josh attributes his critical thinking and analytical skills to the MPA Program, which are crucial for accreditation and assessment responsibilities. The MPA Program helped Josh to work with people in not only an institutional capacity, but also in an individual capacity and student-level perspective. Josh says, “I enjoy the ability to work with a variety of individuals across campus and the great staff within the his office.” Key theories he learned in program courses, like Managing Public Organizations, enabled Josh to create buy-in with the stakeholders involved in the assessment and accreditation processes. Josh feels that, “All MPA Program faculty are extremely helpful and engaged with students. They were always available and willing to help.”

Dan Burger '11

14 Coming StreetDan Burger is the Director of the Coastal Services Division for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM). Since joining DHEC in 2004, Dan has worked to advance the policy goals of the state’s Coastal Zone Management Program through the development and implementation of innovative program strategies, products and services. Dan leads staff performance of inter-governmental planning, coastal hazard analysis, marine debris reduction, communication and policy development efforts. In 2015, Dan led the establishment of the Charleston Resilience Network (CRN) and has since been honored to serve as Chair of the coalition. The CRN is a coalition of public and private sector stakeholder organizations within the Charleston metropolitan area that have a collective interest in the resilience of communities, critical infrastructure and socio-economic continuity to episodic natural disasters and chronic coastal hazards, including sea level rise, storms and flooding. Dan also serves on the Advisory Board for Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA) and S.C. Sea Grant Consortium's Climate Advisory Committee. "Linking science with planning and resource management decisions is often a difficult task that requires a multi-disciplinary approach. The analytical skills that I honed through the MPA program have enabled me to navigate complex policy environments, build relationships and craft successful strategies." Prior to his work in South Carolina, Dan worked to advance environmental public policy in Maryland as a Program Manager for the non-profit Maryland League of Conservation Voters. Dan is an honors graduate of Western Maryland (McDaniel) College and holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) in Urban Public Affairs from the College of Charleston. Since 2011, Dan has served on the MPA Advisory Board and has enjoyed engaging with students as a mentor and thesis advisor. Dan lives in West Ashley with his wife, Emily (MS '07) and their daughters, Rose Marie and Flora.

Amy Zeigler Wilson '06

14 Coming StreetAmy Wilson is Vice-President of Development for One80 Place and serves as a member of the Senior Management Team. She manages a five-person development team responsible for raising $7.2 million annually. She also oversees the organization’s communications, marketing and public relation’s strategies as well as assists in program development. In 2014, she and her team successfully took on a re-naming and re-branding campaign for the organization.
Prior to joining One80 Place 10 years ago, Amy received her MPA from the College of Charleston and completed an internship with the Lowcountry Housing Trust.  While in the MPA program, Amy worked as a Graduate Assistance conducting evaluation research for the Joseph P. Riley Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Studies.  She also received a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the College of Charleston.  Amy served as a member of Charleston Habitat for Humanity’s Board of Directors for six years.  She currently serves as a member of the Graduate School of the College of Charleston’s MPA Advisory Board and is the Board Chair for the Lowcountry Homeless Coalition. Amy lives in West Ashley with her husband Jason and their new baby boy, Paxton.
Amy feels her education in the MPA Program launched her career, "While doing my internship, I applied for a position at One80 Place (then Crisis Ministries). I was hired through a grant to work with homeless Veterans to help them re-enter the workforce. I did this for about six months when the organization’s grant writer left. Our CEO approached me about the position. Even though I didn’t have specific grant writing experience, my background in doing research and writing evaluation reports (from my time at the Riley Center) prepared me for that role."

Erin Fisher '06

14 Coming StreetAfter graduation from the MPA program in 2006, Erin worked at the Lowcountry Food Bank in Charleston for several years as the Community Initiatives Coordinator. Her husband’s role as an active duty military member took them to Florida followed by Colorado. During that time, her career took an unexpected turn; she began work for a start up company that quickly grew from five employees to eighty in just three years. Erin was lucky to experience the process of selling a small start up, but so very happy to return to the non-profit sector. She is truly grateful to have had the opportunity to put the finance skills to work that she gained in the MPA program. Erin states, “It was the hardest-earned grade I ever received in my academic career, but the most valuable by far! I have drawn upon skills learned in that class in every position I have held.” In her current role, Erin is back at the Lowcountry Food Bank after a five year hiatus as the VP of Community Initiatives. LCFB’s mission is to lead the fight against hunger in our community. “It is such a pleasure to work with a dynamic team that is motivated towards one clear goal. On a daily basis, I oversee the departmental budget, manage our organization’s strategic plan, and empower my team to generate innovative solutions to our local issues of hunger,” says Erin. A patchwork of programs and distribution methods are needed to meet the diverse and evolving needs of the clients. Erin regularly draws upon the background knowledge gained in Research Methods learned in MPA. This knowledge helps her understand how to work with consultants, how to read and understand research, and how to conduct basic client research needed to improve the impact of their programs. Erin is still also grateful for lessons learned at her internship at Coastal Community Foundation, as it provided her with a key donor’s perspective.

Ashley Kellahan '07

14 Coming StreetAfter graduating USC with a degree in Political Science, Ashley Kellahan graduated from the MPA Program in 2007 with a focus in local government. She caught wind early on in her final semester that her hometown of Abbeville was searching for an Assistant City Manager, and asked the City Manager if she could shadow him for a day and interview him for Capstone. She wanted to make sure she stood out to him come interview time! She was hired before graduating, and worked there for three years. She moved back to Charleston after getting married in the spring of 2010. She worked at the City of Charleston for 3 years as a Senior Budget Analyst. and while eager to get back into administration, she is grateful for that experience. Working for a City with such a large and complex budget afforded her the financial background she needed to manage a municipality on her own. She was appointed the Town Administrator for James Island in 2013 by Mayor Woolsey. Working for a Town that was incorporated for the fourth and final time in 2012 certainly has its challenges, but it's been such an exciting journey so far. Amidst the growing pains is the opportunity to define an organizational culture for a new Town. The small staff has become a big family, and they are looking forward to opening their second park later this year, and the new Town Hall in 2018. Ashley currently resides on James Island with her husband Richie and their two boys, Thomas and Knox. She is a member of James Island Presbyterian Church, a founding Board Member of the James Island Exchange Club, and a Sea Island Habitat for Humanity Board Member. 

Aaron Holly '16

14 Coming StreetAaron Holly graduated from the University of Charleston, South Carolina, with concurrent Master's degrees in Environmental Studies and Public Administration with an additional Graduate Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning, and was recognized as an Outstanding Student of his graduating class. Aaron started working for the City of Charleston as a City Planner in May 2016. While in the concurrent program, Aaron’s focus was on urban planning and policy, specifically bike and pedestrian issues as well as other sustainability topics related to urban planning. Aaron completed his academic internship with Charleston Moves, a local non-profit that focuses on advocating for bike and pedestrian safety where he worked with bike and pedestrian incident data on the Charleston Peninsula to identify high density bike and pedestrian collision zones and make policy recommendations based on his findings. His experience in the program was extremely beneficial in helping to find employment, particularly the opportunities to work and network with community leaders and activists in his areas of interest. For the City, Aaron is currently working on a variety of projects such as bike and pedestrian planning initiatives, researching best practices on several issues including short term rental regulation and medical district planning.